Photo by Neshan H. Naltchayan
CARE's Heather Higginbottom (l) & Finland Amb. Kirsti Kauppi
CARE's Heather Higginbottom (l) & Finland Amb. Kirsti Kauppi

Finland’s Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi hosted D.C. decision-makers at a CARE Global Leaders Network reception on Tuesday to underscore the connection between food and nutrition security, and a clean environment.

Michelle Cross Fenty (right) with Toni Ford (left) & Judith Terra (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Michelle Cross Fenty (right) with Toni Ford (left) & Judith Terra

Ambassador Kauppi, joined by celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn, said: “Environmentally, economically and socially sustainable development is necessary to ensure a stable food supply for people from the Arctic to Africa….We are grateful for CARE’s work around the world to support small farmers and advocate for global action against climate change.” 

She also noted that after World War II, CARE was instrumental in helping her country’s people recover from the incurred devastation.

Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn and Finland's Amb. Kirsti Kauppi (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn and Finland's Amb. Kirsti Kauppi

The reception is one of the ongoing events of CARE’s Global Leaders Network — an initiative to raise awareness about the importance of humanitarian and development aid for global stability and U.S. national security.

Next events in D.C. are scheduled for the Embassy of Australia April 17 and the Embassy of Canada May 22.

Brett & Tiffini Greene with Finland's Ambassador (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Brett & Tiffini Greene with Finland's Ambassador

Former Navy Secretary and former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ray Mabus talked about the importance of maintaining high levels of aid: Without it, he said,  “by the time we get to war, it’s much more expensive in terms of lives …” than what it would be if money were spent upfront in humanitarian assistance.

Congressional staff, business leaders, media and members of the U.S. and international diplomatic communities, as well as CARE supporters attended the event.

Ana Utley, (right), new member of CARE's Global Leaders Network with Finland's Ambassador in front of a CARE poster (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Ana Utley, (right), new member of CARE's Global Leaders Network with Finland's Ambassador in front of a CARE poster

The reception came on the heels of cuts proposed for the U.S. foreign assistance budget. Despite some $300 billion in new funding in the budget passed by Congress, the legislation includes approximately billions in cuts to foreign assistance, which would constitute a drastic reduction in life-saving humanitarian and development programs, said CARE.

Amb. Neil Parsan with Barbara Hawthorn (middle) & Michelle Cross Fenty (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Amb. Neil Parsan with Barbara Hawthorn (middle) & Michelle Cross Fenty

 “The U.S. foreign aid budget faces these devastating cuts despite warnings from national security leaders that such investments are essential to global stability and our nation’s long-term security, said CARE’s Chief Operating Officer Heather Higginbottom.

CARE Global Leaders Network Advisory Board member Rachel Pearson, Rebecca Cooper, Jacob Cooper with Sec. and Mrs. Ray Mabus (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) CARE Global Leaders Network Advisory Board member Rachel Pearson, Rebecca Cooper, Jacob Cooper with Sec. and Mrs. Ray Mabus

Recognized as new ambassadors for CARE’s Global Leaders Network were Ana Utley (with husband Jon) of Georgetown, Jackie Finn, and Col. Henry and Joyce Moak. Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Barbara Bodine, now Director of Georgetown University's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, was named to the CARE Global Leaders Network Advisory Board

Mendelsohn is a chef ambassador for CARE’s International Chefs’ Table Program, working with top chefs in the fight to end global hunger.  He is chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery, and WE, The Pizza, among other restaurants.

Dr. Michael Okoroafor (VP, Global Sustainability and Packaging Innovation at McCormick & Co, Inc.), CARE's Abby Davidson and Rebecca Feinberg, Dr. Ngozi Okoroafor. (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Dr. Michael Okoroafor (VP, Global Sustainability and Packaging Innovation at McCormick & Co, Inc.), CARE's Abby Davidson and Rebecca Feinberg, Dr. Ngozi Okoroafor.

Others at the reception, which drew some 110 guests, included:  Michelle Cross Fenty and Ambassador Neil Parsan (of Parsan Cross Global Strategic Advisors); Anna Gawel, Washington Diplomat managing editor; The Hon. Antoinette Ford of Double Nickels Theatre Co.; Togo’s Ambassador to the U.S. Frederic Edem Hegbe; Brett and Tiffini Greene (principles of American Management Corporation); arts activist Judith Terra; Georgetown photographer and D.C. diplomatic dean Didi Cutler, writer Annie Groer; interior designer Barbara Hawthorn; and Sister Cities International’s board member Christine Warnke.

Eric Shmitt of the New York Times, Felice Berkowitz, CARE's Beth Solomon and Amb. Kauppi (Photo by: Neshan H. Naltchayan) Eric Shmitt of the New York Times, Felice Berkowitz, CARE's Beth Solomon and Amb. Kauppi

CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.

Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world.